Dodge Announces European Distributor for Viper Competition Coupe
* ORECA to be exclusive source of Dodge Viper race cars to European teams
* Dodge Viper Competition Coupe to compete in new FIA racing series
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (January 16, 2006) -- Dodge announced it has signed a letter of intent with France-based Organisation et Exploitation Courses Automobiles (ORECA) Motorsport for sole distributorship of the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe in Europe.
"This agreement will help us build on the racing heritage and presence of the Dodge Viper, which has been one of the most successful racing cars in Europe," said John Fernandez, Director -- Motorsports Operations, Chrysler Group. "Our European customers who race will benefit tremendously from the services offered by ORECA, with whom we've partnered for many years."
The Dodge Viper Competition Coupe currently competes in several U.S. and European racing series, including the SPEED World Challenge GT Championship and Dutch Supercar Challenge. Until now, Viper Competition Coupes racing in Europe have been purchased from Dodge in the U.S. and exported to Europe. ORECA will now directly handle sales of the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe in Europe from its Toulon, France facilities, as well as provide race preparation, service and parts availability.
"We can offer racing customers a wide range of services," said Hugues de Chaunac, ORECA Chairman. "Our goal is to not only provide customers with the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe -- a proven race winner -- but also with whatever level of support they may require."
Building on a long relationship
With the new distributorship agreement, Dodge renews a long and successful racing relationship with ORECA that spans several decades.
ORECA campaigned Viper GTS-R race cars in Europe in the 1990s, winning three consecutive Federation de l'Automobile (FIA) championships in 1997-1999, as well as victories in the GT2 and GTS categories at the 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race in 1998, 1999 and 2000. In the U.S., Viper Team ORECA entries captured first overall at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and a 1-2-3 class win at the Sebring 12 Hours race, both in 2000; as well as championships in the American Le Mans series in 1999 and 2000.
Viper Competition Coupe in a new series
Separately, the FIA recently announced a new GT3 European Championship for 2006, with 10 manufacturers expected to field cars in competition. Dodge Viper Competition Coupes are anticipated to race against cars including the Aston Martin DBRS9, Ferrari 430 Challenge, Maserati Trofeo Light, Porsche 997 Cup and Lotus Exige.
With a U.S. market share of approximately seven percent, Dodge is Chrysler Group's best-selling brand and the fifth-largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2005, Dodge sold more than 1.1 million vehicles. Dodge continues to lead the minivan market segment with a 20 percent U.S. market share and maintains a 31 percent share of the highly competitive truck market. In 2006, Dodge will enter key European volume segments.